Thursday, 28 August 2014

RAF Waddington - Thursday 21 August 2014

The arrival in the UK of thew Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Liberty Lancaster B10 on Friday 8 August 2014, sparked a "frenzy" amongst aviation enthusiasts and veterans alike, to find an event and venue to see the aircraft and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Avro Lancaster B1 together. Airshows were sold out weeks beforehand and if one did not have a ticket, the chance of getting close to these two "siblings" was remote.                                                                                            On Sunday 17 August, the pair were due to display at the bi-annual Sywell airshow, this year named the "Great War Airshow", but as reported in an earlier blog, they could not attend due to the strong winds on the day.  A great disappointment to the capacity crowd there to see the two old ladies. The author was told by someone attending that the following Thursday, RAF Waddington would be hosting the pair, as well as Avro Vulcan XH558, for a photo call with the press and the general public, with the latter being able to buy a ticket on the gate only. Having got back home the RAF Waddington website was checked for details and the following day a day's holiday was booked to make the "pilgrimage".

Thursday started with grey overcast skies as the crowd assembled outside the temporary entrance off the A15 Sleaford Road, many cars lining up on the side of the road awaiting the opening of the gate. The area set aside for the enthusiasts to congregate and view the precedings was to the north of the taxiway that leads from the runway to the pan and hangars of the Sentry fleet with a clear view of the runway and for some the taxiway running along the runway on the side of the Thomson Building and the hangars.
Boeing E-3D Sentry taxiing to the runway for an early departure
One of the reason for the gathering, apart from the photo call, was the formation flight of the two Lancaster with the Vulcan over a number of sites, including Metheringham where the turf cutting ceremony for the new Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial was taking place, RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham's Families Day. Over RAF Marham XH558 would climb out of the formation and had for Clacton, where she would display ahead of the two Lancasters.

Two BAe Hawks of No.100 Squadron RAF Leeming arriving over RAF Waddington

BBMF and CWHM Lancasters approaching RAF Waddington

It has been mentioned several times in the media and social media that it had been hard to take a photograph of the aircraft in formation as they fly in line astern, so the only time a close formation image can be recorded it when they approach, as in the image above or when they are flying away from the camera.
BBMF Lancaster first to land......
....and a bit of a wobbly touch down after which both wheels left the ground again.
CWHM Lancaster follows her sister....
.....and makes a perfect landing
Coming along the taxiway with the Thomson Building in the background.
C-GVRA, better known as Vera rolls tom a stop, with tour flags flying from her cockpit windows
PA474 parks up ready for engine shutdown
The Canadian aircrew are welcomed to RAF Waddington
Tim Dunlop, BBMF Lancaster Captain, explaining why the formation could not overfly RAF Waddington.
Two sisters basking in the sun
Thumper starts up to depart and formate with C-GVRA and XH558
C-GVRA starting to roll towards the runway
The first two of three sisters moving onto the runway....
...while the third sister waits to move onto the runway (with the other two now in the background)

The formation as they flew past to the north of RAF Waddington on the way to Metheringham
The formation, as shown in the image above, could not fly over RAF Waddington, as explained by Tim Dunlop, the BBMF Lancaster captain, because the turn from there to Metheringham was too tight for the formation to fly. Tim also mentioned that he will be joining the Voyager squadron at RAF Brize Norton

The Three Sisters Formation and photo ship approaching RAF Coningsby.  (Photo courtesy Andy Hellen)
This was most likely my only opportunity to see the two Lancasters together, but to see it in company with the Vulcan was an extra bonus. All other events where they are to appear are fully booked, however, I might make the journey to RAF Coningsby for departure day on Tuesday 23 September.

And finally....

This event though was well organised by the team at RAF Waddington and although the initial parking of the Lancasters was less then ideal as the Vulcan could not be brought through to join them, but that was sorted out later in the morning. One of the heroes of the day was this RAF Police dog handler who was there for the duration keeping us in check and protecting us (not sure what from as we don't see them at open days).
27 August 2014
Theo Claassen


  1. Brill pics, it was a good day and well worth skipping work !!

  2. Excellent photos Theo, and fantastic timing getting the Hawk with the two Lancasters in the background. Thanks for the photo credit too.